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Switzerland bans large events due to coronavirus; Geneva International Motor Show cancelled three days before opening

The Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS), which was scheduled to open in three days and run until 15 March, has been cancelled due to the Swiss government’s response to the coronavirus. The Swiss Federal Council—the group that constitutes the federal government of Switzerland—held an extraordinary meeting today, categorized the situation in Switzerland as “particular” in terms of the Epidemics Act, and banned large-scale events involving more than 1,000 people. The ban is immediate effect and applies at least until 15 March.


The cantons are responsible for enforcing the ban. In the case of public or private events at which fewer than 1,000 people would gather, event organizers must carry out a risk assessment in conjunction with the competent cantonal authorities to decide whether or not the event can be held.

We regret this situation, but the health of all participants is our and our exhibitors’ top priority. This is a case of force majeure and a tremendous loss for the manufacturers who have invested massively in their presence in Geneva. However, we are convinced that they will understand this decision.

—Maurice Turrettini, Chairman of the Foundation Board of GIMS

A few days before the opening of the event, the construction of the stands was very nearly complete. The dismantling of the event will now have to be organized. The financial consequences for all those involved in the event will be significant and will need to be assessed over the coming weeks. Tickets already purchased for the event will be refunded.

In Switzerland, infections with the new coronavirus have currently been confirmed in fifteen cases. There have been reports of diseases from the cantons: Ticino, Geneva, Grisons, Aargau, Zurich, Basel-City and Vaud. All persons have been infected abroad. Their health condition is good, according to the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. All those who are ill are isolated. The public health authorities are contacting people who have been in close contact with the person infected.


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